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Chronic disease Asthma rivals malaria’s death toll

Chronic disease Asthma rivals malaria’s death toll

Malaria is recognised as a killer – particularly in low-income countries - but less known is that worldwide, chronic disease of asthma a similar death rate and affects nearly one of every 20 people.

Chronic disease Asthma rivals malaria’s death toll

Globally, there are 339 million people with asthma. It is the most common chronic disease in children and remains one of the most common chronic diseases in adults, causing disability in many. Shockingly, this manageable disease is estimated (like malaria) to cause of death of some 1,150 people every day.

A chronic disease too-common

Professor Innes Asher (ONZM) of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences is the Chair of the Global Asthma Network. The organisation was established in 2012 to improve asthma care globally, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries, through enhanced surveillance, research collaboration, capacity building and access to quality-assured, essential medicines. Last year the organisation released the Global Asthma Report, setting out what is known about asthma, with the aim of influencing those in authority to act in an informed way to reduce the global burden of asthma.

Professor Asher is adamant that with correct diagnosis and treatment, many deaths from asthma can be prevented.

“Most deaths and disability due to asthma occur in people who are not taking medicines, especially inhaled corticosteroids, which are more expensive, especially in low-income countries.

“However, the illness itself is most common in ‘developed’ English-speaking countries like Aotearoa New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. We are still not sure why this is – perhaps because of changes to our environment, our diet, or different exposure to some infections,” Asher says.

Professor Asher says that even in New Zealand, more than 521,000 people are taking medicines for asthma − one in nine adults and one in seven children. Asthma causes a death every week.

According to the Lung Foundation of Australia, for 1 in 9 Australians – that’s 2.5 million – breathing isn’t something that can be taken for granted. Those who suffer from asthma typically suffer from inflamed airways, and while there is a long list of triggers of asthma, diet is one way we can naturally treat it. Fruit and vegetables are a rich source of several nutrients, in particular soluble fibre, Vitamin C and antioxidants, that have been shown to reduce inflammation.

These 6 foods can help with better breathing, reducing the triggers of chronic disease asthma.

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